Are you brushing your tongue? Your daily oral hygiene routine should include more than cleaning your teeth and gums. In fact, not brushing your tongue can lead to several dental health problems and sabotage the parts of your mouth that you do clean regularly. Brushing the tongue is a quick and easy step – here’s why you don’t want to skip it.
Your Mouth is a Breeding Ground for Bacteria
According to scientific research, there are over 700 different types of bacteria in the mouth. While not all oral bacteria is bad, you should not dismiss the danger of too much “bad” bacteria as it pertains to your dental health. When bacteria combines with plaque and sugars, it creates a recipe for havoc across your smile. Bacteria can be the culprit to gum disease, tooth decay and other primary dental health complications. It is important that you do everything you can to eliminate excess bacteria from your mouth – which undoubtedly includes brushing all surfaces of your tongue.
When the Tongue Doesn’t Get Cleaned
Bacteria anywhere in the mouth can be harmful. However, when it accumulates on the tongue, it can be especially destructive. Your tongue is like a sponge. Not only does it absorb bacteria in the mouth, but it also provides the perfect environment for that bacteria to breed and multiply. Since your tongue is frequently moving around, it easily transfers this bacteria to your teeth and gums. It comes to no surprise therefore, that a “dirty” or bacteria-ridden tongue can contribute to the following health and dental problems.
The most common issue that occurs when you don’t brush your tongue is halitosis, or bad breath. As bacteria feeds inside your mouth, it produces a foul-smelling sulfur compound that makes it very hard to achieve fresh breath.
Did you know that if you let bacteria linger on the tongue, it can eventually create a biofilm that blocks your ability to taste foods and drinks like you normally would? Brushing your tongue could improve the way you enjoy your meals!
A Hairy Appearance
Bacteria on the tongue has a sticky texture. It is common for food and drink particles to get stuck on this bacteria, which can leave behind a discolored and dingy appearance. The tongue can even look hairy from an outsider’s perspective!
A condition known as oral thrush, or a yeast infection, can develop when bacteria multiplies inside the mouth. Antifungal medications that are prescribed from a physician is the only way to treat this type of infection once it occurs.
Advanced Gum Disease
Gum disease is one of the most serious oral health conditions, and it is yet another dental health problem that is started by too much bacteria in the mouth. When bacteria accumulates, it can irritate the gums and cause them to become red, swollen and bleed easily. If not treated promptly, gum disease can progress to advanced stages that lead to tooth loss and overall health problems.
How to Brush Your Tongue
Many patients rely on a dental tool called a tongue scraper to ensure that bacteria and food debris are successfully removed from this moist and spongey surface each day. However, your toothbrush can work just fine in properly keeping your tongue clean. At Grateful Dental, we recommend the following when brushing your tongue:
- Rinse your toothbrush under warm water before brushing your tongue
- Start from the back of your tongue and work your way forward
- Brush your tongue gently so you don’t cause any injury to your tongue
- Clean all surfaces of your tongue (sides and underneath!)
- Rinse your mouth out with warm water to remove any loose bacteria that may not have been properly removed by brushing
Could you be doing more to keep a clean and healthy mouth? Are you struggling with bad breath, gingivitis or poor taste buds? Start brushing your tongue! This small step in your dental hygiene routine can reap big rewards for your smile health. Call our Marietta dental team today to schedule your appointment.